Kier, having sought to reassure Highways England that their claims for vehicles not associated with repairs have been addressed, have submitted a charge for an AIW vehicle:
Highways England’s rubber-stamping of invoices for payment has caused the above to be paid and the sum demanded from a Third Party. However, the vehicle is far from a Mercedes van … once again, the VRM applies to a totally different vehicle, a BMW I8, COUPE WHITE HYBRID ELECTRIC, someone’s personal information and charged incorrectly …
Given the high rates being charge to Third Parties (£36.91 / hour) possibly Kier are now using BMW’s … but the i8? According to the Area 9 contract, a Third Party is to be charged no more than the Defined Cost (£13.20) + TP Claims Overhead (25.29%) or £16.54 / hour.
Kier are charging more than double this, £36.91 / hour with Highways England failing to ensure compliance with the contract and misrepresenting information about charges.
But Third Parties will be unaware of this and unable to challenge the issue with Kier, Highways England, their lawyers or before a Judge. Whilst Jim O’Sullivan wrote 21/09/2018, ‘The court is the appropriate forum in which to challenge any costs you disagree with’ such a reply is dismissive, inappropriate. Possibly Jim is unaware:
- the section of the contract that sets out how a Third Party is to be charged has been kept secret
- Highways England & Kier will not disclose or confirm the Defined Costs
- The TP Claims Overhead is not documented
- Kier invoices do not display charges broken down as ‘2’ & ‘3’ above
Assuming a Third Party takes issue with an invoice, rather than considering a company appointed by a Public Authority would be permitted to overcharge, abuse their position, they will have no clue where to challenge the correspondence and be obstructed. They can expect to be bullied into full settlement or subjected to further costs and inconvenience.
The reason for this appears to be that Kier Highways have not charged in accordance with the contract since 07/2014 but are profiteering.
As for the use of incorrect VRM’s to charge Third Parties, Tim Reardon, Highways England’s General Counsel eventually wrote after our January 2017 concerns, 21/09/2018:
I referred your complaint about Kier charging for non-existent or incorrect vehicles to Kier for comment. The response I have received from Kier is below. If you wish to pursue the matter further, I suggest you take up the issues directly with Kier. I do not propose to take your complaint any further.
Kier’s reply can be read here – as can our response.